If the foundation under your home is not solid and stable, you will have problems with the structure and safety of your home. The sooner you realize there is a problem, and determine what is causing it, the sooner you can have it fixed. It is important to have the issue taken care of as soon as possible to prevent it from growing. Left alone, you could have walls, ceilings or floors crashing down. You should walk around your house, both inside and out, on a regular basis, checking for signs that there is trouble. This is especially true if you know your home is in an area prone to foundation failure.
Causes of Foundation Failure
The main cause of foundation failure is the uneven shifting of the ground under the building. It could be due to loose earth, poor drainage or faults deep in the ground near your home.
If your home was built on sand or other soil that tends to be loosely packed, you probably had piles driven into the ground where the soil is more compacted. The foundation was built on the piles. However, the ground directly beneath the concrete may shift and still cause the foundation to move in some places but not others. This will create stress on the concrete and it will eventually crack. Once cracked, the different sections will move much more freely.
If your home was built on hard clay or other compacted soil, water drainage will be the problem. As water sits in the ground, it will cause the hard earth to swell as it trickles between the tiny particles. As the earth swells and then settles, the foundation of your home will shift and crack.
Not every area of the country will need to worry about fault lines in the earth, but if you live near one, you will need to be very aware of any shifting. It does not take an earthquake to cause the ground to shift and ruin your foundation. Make sure your home was built up to the necessary standards for fault lines.
Signs of Foundation Failure
Making regular visual inspections of your home is important. You can see the signs that something is wrong with your foundation long before it is a real problem. When walking around inside your home, make notice of any:
- Cracks in the walls
- Gaps in the flooring
- Doors or windows that do not close properly
If everything appears to be good inside, take a walk around the outside of the house. You are looking to make sure that there are no:
- Cracked bricks or cement areas
- Open spaces around doors or windows
- Buckling of the roof tiles
- Buckling or gaping siding
- Holes or cracks in the foundation
If you notice any of these signs, it is time to contact a concrete contractor from a company like McNabb Construction and ask for an inspection. He or she will tell you what is going on with the foundation and the best way to repair it. Taking care of it before the situation is bad will save a lot of time and money.